Although reaching out via cold calls or emails may sound difficult, the most important initial tests of the Monetizable Pain Hypothesis is the rate at which potential customers return your calls or emails. In other words, the value of the problem is represented by the time potential customers are willing to give you. How fast they get back to you and the percentage response rate are important indicators of how significant the problem is for your customers.
If 70% of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) return your cold calls in twenty-four hours, you have clearly identified a monetizable pain. Although these numbers may seem high, we've seen many startups achieve these kinds of response rates, and so as a general rule, we use a 50% response rate - if 50% of potential customers return your call or email, you have found a monetizable pain and a potential beachhead for your product or service. Of course, the 50% response rule represents more of a guideline. Depending on the context or the customer segment, the cutoff may vary.
Furthermore, if you get below a 50% response rate, don't be discouraged just yet. The low response rate may mean that you just haven't found the right customer niche or the right words to describe the pain to the customer. The good news is that even if the response rate to your initial request falls below the 50% cutoff, by talking to those customers who dorespond, you can find clues about where to find the real monetizable pain. However, you will need to repeat your Monetizable Pain Hypothesis test again with a new group of customers before you move on.
As you talk to customers, be sure to use robust research techniques so you accurately capture the conversation. You should try to record or take extensive notes on conversations so that later you and other team members can return to your notes and reflect on what you really heard. If you aren't able to record the conversation, one trick used by professional researchers is to sit down immediately after a conversation and take extensive notes. This extensive record-taking should be used throughout all the steps of the Nail It Then Scale Itprocess.
(See Nail It Then Scale It, pgs. 74-75; 82-84)